A few months ago, I was browsing one of the many Facebook groups that I joined for photos of vintage fashion. While perusing some pics, I was quickly drawn in by one beauty that I’d never seen before. After a little digging, I confirmed that the lovely woman was Francine Everett, a Black actress from the 1930s and 1940s. Her career was brief, but she was a luminous and talented woman. I was so intrigued by her that I spent some time watching a couple of the movies that she starred in, as well as a few shorts that featured her.
I want to discuss “Dirty Gertie from Harlem“, which echoed the theme of “loose” women being doomed to a tragic ending. During this period, female characters that were not traditional or conservative were almost always written as tragic figures. It’s fascinating to see how, less than 60 years after “Dirty Gertie”, shows like “Sex and the City” thrive on the premise of women being in control of their sexuality and not “doomed” because they refuse to marry and “settle down” with one man.
I wish that Everett had more movies because she truly “lit up” the screen. I was impressed with her acting and I know that should could have been a star if she had only been born at a different, later time.
I hope you check out Everett’s movies, and tell me: do you have any vintage actor or actress favorites?
One of my favorite movies of this year was Black Panther. For those that recall, I was in Kenya when the movie was released and, while I didn’t get to see it before I left the country, I did see the national pride for Lupita Nyong’o, the stunner that played Nakia, a brilliant spy whose wisdom saved Wakanda from certain implosion.
I can’t help but think that Lupita and Nakia have a great deal in common. Lupita’s confidence, poise and intelligence are traits that moviegoers easily identified in Nakia. It was difficult to distinguish between the character and the real, life Nyong’o.
One of the things I love most about Lupita is her pragmatic attitude toward her beauty. Slim, with flawless skin, a button nose, high cheekbones and perfect out: she’s enviably beautiful. However, when her stunning beauty is discussed, she graciously acknowledges it but also brings up how that is only one aspect of who she is. She is an endearing star that not only enchants onscreen but offscreen as well.
I love her energy and everything that she represents. I hope you all enjoy these quotes as much as I have! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.
Happy Friday, darlings! I hope you’ve got an exciting weekend planned or, if relaxation is what you need, I hope that you’ve planned some time to chill out and restore yourself.
It’s time for August’s book!
I tossed around a few options for this month, because I was unsure whether I wanted (yet another) book focused on self improvement or something completely different. However, while looking through a few of my stacks of books, I came across one that I hadn’t read yet and was eager to finally dig into.
August’s book is Elizabeth Takes Off by Elizabeth Taylor. I don’t think I’ve read a celebrity’s autobiography in years, so this will be very different from my norm. I love Elizabeth Taylor (remember I did a post about her nearly a year ago?) so when I purchased this book, it was because I wanted the secret to her crazy-tiny waistline. Yeah, it’s superficial, but if she’s giving out the secrets, I want to be the first in line, with my pen in hand.
When I glanced through the book, I recalled that this is, indeed, a book about her diet, but it’s also a discussion about her personal life and career, so it should be a well-balanced, fascinating read. I’m looking forward to reading this one!
Beautiful. Earthy. Intelligent. Seductive. All of these descriptors paint a perfect picture of the many elements that make the incredible Sophia Loren. I first learned of Sophia Loren many years ago when I came across her movie Houseboat with Cary Grant. Her hourglass proportions and sultry Italian accent dominated the screen every time she was in a scene. I wanted to look like her and even sound like her when I grew up!
Sophia didn’t have a fairy tale upbringing. Her parents never married and she dealt with the stigma of being born out of wedlock. She also was poor and got teased for being skinny. She was always a beauty but it’s hard to see your own beauty when there are so many naysayers ready to tell you otherwise.
Sophia took Hollywood by storm. After all, her physical presence fit in well with the Marilyn Monroe/Elizabeth Taylor aesthetic. Unlike Monroe and Taylor, Sophia was tall and statuesque. At 5 foot 9 inches, Loren was actually equal in height, and occasionally taller than, her male counterparts. She owned her powerful presence and used it to her advantage.
What is most enchanting about Sophia Loren is her perspective on beauty. Her down-to-earth wisdom is a refreshing take on what really matters. Her emphasis on inner beauty is probably why she is still radiant as an octogenarian. Her love for her family and self awareness shine through in every portrait. We may not all be as physically beautiful as La Loren, but we are certainly able to take on her positive attitude.
So here’s to the incredible Sophia Loren! Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.
(photos courtesy of AZQuotes, MemesandQuotesInspiration, EliteColumn and DebraSmouse)
A few years ago, I watched the movie, “Boy What a Girl!“ and I was captivated by one of the actresses. The actress that really lit up the screen was Sheila Guyse. She played Francine, one of the two daughters of the wealthy Mr. Cummings. She was a gorgeous and talented actress – it’s a shame that she isn’t well known today.
Guyse as Francine Cummings, with Alan Jackson as Mr. Cummings
Another photo of Guyse, this time with Betti Mays who played her sister, Cristola Cummings
In honor of Sheila Guyse’s birthday (July 14th) I’m watching three of her movies this weekend. Luckily for us, all of these movies are available on Archive.org and YouTube, so you can enjoy them for free.
A radiant Guyse in Sepia Cinderella
Boy What a Girlwas my introduction to Guyse, but I’ve never seen the other two movies on the roster, Sepia Cinderella and Miracle in Harlem. I’ve added some stills from each of the movies, so you can see why she was a sought-after actress during her career.
One of my favorite singers of all time was Judy Garland. Like most people, I got my first introduction to Garland when I saw “The Wizard of Oz” but as an adult, I got acquainted with her other songs, as well as her life story.
This petite powerhouse felt with feeling ugly, awkward, and unloved. She was undoubtedly talented but never happy and secure in who she was. That unhappiness bled through her lyrics, making many of her songs heartbreakingly sad. But there is beauty in everything, including sadness. Even in her most painful songs, there is still so much elegance, warmth, and passion: she took heartbreak and turned it into art.
Garland had such naturalness when she sang: it was never forced or overwrought. I’m sure it was quite a sight to see her perform live, with such an enormous voice coming out of such a tiny woman (only 4’11”!). Recordings of her voice give me shivers now: can you imagine what it was like to hear her live?
It’s difficult to listen to her recordings and to not be moved by them. I only wish she could have known how beautiful, special and loved she was. I hear her singing and I wish I could have hugged her and reassured her of her immeasurable value. She deserved better, and her tragic death at the age of 47 is a reminder to continue to love and affirm those around us.
Judy Garland had some poignant musings, and I’m honored to share a few of them with you all today. I hope that Judy’s words move and inspire you. Take care, and talk to you all tomorrow.
(photos courtesy Pinterest, StatusMind, AZQuotes and QuotePrism)
Resplendent Lena Horne, in a still from Cabin in the Sky
I’ll be checking out Cabin in the Sky andThe Duke is Tops. Both movies are part of the public domain so I’ll watch them on the Internet Archive website. Lena’s role in Cabin in the Sky is minor, from what I recall, but I’ll still check it out. And I’m excited to see if she has a bigger role in The Duke is Tops, or if she is a minor character in that one, as well.
Let me get to my movie watching – I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!
It’s the weekend, beloveds! I wanted to drop in and do this review quickly, as I have a very busy Saturday ahead of me. I’m a sucker for glamorous style, so what better way to honor my passion than to talk about last month’s Hollywood-inspired book selection?
This post is a review of the March reading selection “How to Be Adored“ by Caroline Cox. Throughout the book, Cox assures us that we, too, can be glamorous and adorable.
The book opens with Cox explaining the glamour is a form of magic: a supernatural force that attracts and charms. The best glamour doesn’t offend nor does it discriminate: it intoxicates both men and women. This kind of sorcery is what the book promises to help readers achieve.
The book assures readers that we need not be born beautiful to become glamorous. It goes through the process of analyzing your physical traits and explaining how to best enhance them. It also dishes on the beauty secrets of several stars.
The book is over 250 pages but is a remarkably quick read (that may have something to do with it’s small size and generous use of photographs). I like the specific details outlined, as well as the behind-the-scenes look at the beauty routines employed by women that we all know and love. It even has recipes for Hollywood-inspired cocktails!
I recommend this book for anyone that enjoys reading random facts about stars as well as learning the beauty secrets for looking flawless on a daily basis. This is a fun read: you’ll enjoy it!
One of the greatest perks of working in Washington, DC is being able to visit the Smithsonian Institute whenever I have a little time. During one of the unseasonably warm days that we experienced last week, I felt inspired to go to one of the museums during my lunch break.
I decided to stop by the National Portrait Gallery, since it’s close to my job and I haven’t been there in years. The Kogod Courtyard used to be my favorite place for eating lunch.
This time, however, I didn’t come to eat lunch. I was there to view the Marlene Dietrich: Dressed for the Image exhibit. I’m a fan of Dietrich’s work and how she lived an unapologetically authentic life off-camera. I came for the photos but stayed for the story of Dietrich’s life.
The brochures available for visitors have a beautiful, dramatic photo of Dietrich on the cover.
This striking white pantsuit was so intimidating to the French that Dietrich was threatened with arrest if she dared wear it on land.
Those threats of arrest were empty: Dietrich wore a different pantsuit when disembarking the Europa and was greeted with flowers from the French police.
Dietrich as Catherine the Great in The Scarlet Empress (1934)
Her undeniable acting talent, her anti-Nazism stance, and her consistent image maintenance throughout her career made Marlene Dietrich a star. However, it’s her legacy of living life on her own terms that make her an icon.
I highly recommend that you check out this exhibit if you’re in the Washington, DC area. It will be at the National Portrait Gallery (8th and F Streets, NW, near Chinatown) until April 15, 2018, so get there as quickly as you can!
I know that I still haven’t posted the review for January’s book, but I’ll make up for it by posting both the January and February book reviews during the next few weeks. Now, however, I’ll share which book I’ll be reading in March.
After several months of “heavy” reading material, I’m reaching for a lighter read. For March’s book selection, I’m re-reading “How to Be Adored” by Caroline Cox. This Hollywood retrospective gives a glimpse into the beauty routines of former and current movies stars. It also provides a simple guide of how to bring glamour into your every day routine.
It’s been years since I read this one, so I’m looking forward to going through it again. From what I remember, it’s a fun, whimsical read that will help me get back into my glamour-girl routine. I’ve been slacking lately (probably because this weather has been dreadful) . . . But now that we’re going into Spring 2018, I’m looking forward to longer, warmer day and prettier frocks.